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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone,

Not that we don’t have enough nightmare stories to share but I am stricken by the almost evil accuracy in similarities between car horror stories and real life. If only real life was like the stock market we would know exactly what to do :)

Parked my 2002 LE Pathfinder 4x4 for about an hour and upon my return I noticed a pool of coolant right under the radiator. Concluded that there is a good chance that is came out of my car and opened the hood to investigate a possible leak source. Couldn’t find any so I said to myself “lets see”. Chcked cooland while the engine was still cold and it was full, including the excess tank.

The moment I started the engine I noticed service engine soon light (SES) – this is the very first time this light had come on since I bought the car new. So with the coolant and that light in mind I drove off closely monitoring every gauge and sound – I heard nothing unusual. Got onto the freeway – everything normal, temperature right below halfway on the gauge, no strange noises or smells. After about 10 miles the temp gauge started climbing rapidly. I did note that the climb was NOT gradual but some event occurred and boom – it started climbing. Pulled over right away and let it cool for an hour. Noticed coolant again under the car but no leak source could be identified.

Now the fun starts – shop concluded it’s a rear thermostat – the one that is hard to swap – 7 hours of labor. Thermostat was swapped but the car still overheats under the same exact conditions – street driving is fine but as soon as you spend 5-10 minutes at 60MPH the temperature starts climbing rapidly. Now I am almost a grand into a 7 day repair (counting the weekends, not their fault) and still my car overheats. Radiator cap tested - good, radiator itself was also pressure tested - no leaks.

Next they suggested the replace the radiator suspecting clog – I agreed as it sounds reasonable but at this point I must ask: what if it’s NOT the radiator? I can’t keep swapping parts forever. Ahh that SES light had code “coolant over temperature” and no other codes were recorded.

Any suggestions will be very much appreciated!

~B
 

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is there a bleeder valve on your model? some models have a bleeder valve to get the air out of the system. usually on the models where the rad cap is lower than the t-stat housing. if you have that, I would check that first, it will give a indication of overheating because of the air pocket around the temp sensor. when the vehicle is warmed up can you see flow in the rad? do you have a fan clutch or electric fans? if you have a fan clutch, with the engine off turn the fan. if it turns freely (without some resistance) it is bad. when the vehicle is warmed up the fan clutch will be very stiff to turn which is normal. hope this helps.
 
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